Beers following family footsteps
Like many boys growing up around Northampton, Austin Beers was involved in several sports.
He was heavily involved in baseball, basketball, football and wrestling in the Northampton Athletic Association (NAA).
In fact, Beers became infatuated with wrestling on the youth and professional level.
“I really liked wrestling and still do,” said Beers. “I liked wrestling and I liked watching it on TV, too. But then I started racing.”
At age 10, Beers began following in the family footsteps. It was then that his father, Eric, taught him how to drive stick on a Hobby Stock car, and he mercurially developed in the sport.
Four years later only at the age of 14 and a freshman at Northampton High School, Beers was recently honored at a banquet for winning the Mahoning Valley Hobby Stock Championship for the 2017 season.
More astonishing is the fact that Beers competed against drivers who are twice or even three times older than he was.
“It’s crazy,” said Beers about winning the championship. “I always have raced against older drivers and a lot of them thought I would be able to do something like this.”
It also proved to be a quick and smooth transition.
“It took me about 10 minutes to learn how to drive stick,” added Beers. “Once I started driving, I was less nervous and felt comfortable. My biggest fear was getting hurt. But I have been driving as carefully as I can. I just have to stay focused and drive as carefully as I can.”
Beers was awarded the championship based on his finishes this season on the circuit. He recorded two wins and had nine second-place finishes as well as several ones in the top 10 for each race. On average, he competes against 20 other drivers.
This was his second year on the circuit, and he became more aggressive this year.
“Last year was my first year and I stayed in the back,” noted Beers. “I really didn’t know what to expect. Once I got my first win, though, I felt really confident and it was really great. I knew this was something that I could do for a long time.”
His father, Eric, saw potential in his son at a very young age. Beers’ daughter, Kailyn, also has driven, but she is currently a college student.
For quite some time, the Beers name has been associated with racing in the greater Northampton area. Dale Beers, Eric’s father, began racing in the 1960s and became a household name in the sport.
Eric Beers started driving when he was 16, and he now has passed the racing torch to his son. He won the NASCAR Modified Championship at Mahoning in 2016.
“Austin has been around racing his whole life,” said the elder Beers. “He started racing midgets at age five and he was a natural with it. I didn’t want to push him into racing. He was very good at wrestling. But he decided he would give racing a shot.
“He (Austin) has the ability to close very well. During the last 10 laps of a race, he can turn it up. He doesn’t take a lot of chances. He is a very smooth driver. Tony Hirschman who raced with my father and has been close with our family, likes what he sees from him.
“We are all very proud of him to achieve such a feat at his age.”
In several circles, the younger Beers truly appreciates his newly found status. He also has been supported by Horwith Trucking in Northampton, Loikits Industrial Services in Coplay, and Koehler Brother Collision Repair in Northampton. Carl Altemose owns and built his car.
“This is the biggest thing that has happened to me,” he said. There really isn’t anything like it and it was great to have my family involved and behind me.
“The kids at school always want to find out how I did every week. They are very supportive and me and are always asking me questions about it. My grandfather started everything in my family and my father followed him. Now it is time for me to do the same.”
Chances are, Beers will be doing it for a long time.